700 Feel is a sprawling creative project that comes together in mystical and fated ways
October 6th 2023
- :: 700 Feel interview on Up for It! with John Troughton
There is something about 700 Feel’s sound that should not work but simply does. It’s a quality present across all aspects of their creative endeavours as a duo. Their music purposefully fuses genres that are not intuitive pairings, drawing from the likes of UK garage, dub, jazz, hip hop and more.
And FBi knows it – they were our Independent Artist of the Week in April, their debut LP was featured as our Album of the Week, and they were nominated for Best Live Performance at our 2022 SMAC Awards. The Sydney-based duo spoke with John Troughton on Up For It! about their EP, Muscle Memories Vol. 1 and what listeners can expect from them next.
UK-born Jonny Hawkins and Philippines-US born Juan Villamor still have their own distinctive musical influences, but after meeting in high school in Western Sydney they came together over a shared love of Rat King, feeling like misfits amongst “aussie as” types, and their shared impulse to always be seeking new sounds, cultures, and ideas to get inspired by.
Juan: “I feel like a large inspiration for the EP was like right before COVID, we went on a just a little holiday to Europe. That trip gave us heaps of inspiration as far as new genres of music we got into during that trip.”
Jonny: “But also not only like the stuff that we were experiencing musically, but just like culturally. It kind of opened our eyes.”
What stands out about their latest release is the highly produced and deliberate quality of each track, in particular ‘Ain’t Shit Changed [Feat. Archie Mike]’. Jonny and Juan explained that this was very intentional, but that it was also partly the result of being in lockdown.
Juan: “We produced this album so hard. Every bar of it, we really went in on the production of this album. We got really obsessive over everything.”
The EP’s first track ‘Green N’ Grey’ features vocalist Archie Mike, joined Jonny and Juan in the studio, talking to John about his experience of crafting the lyrics and melody for the track and how the fated collaboration came about.
Juan: “We kind of just received a voice recording [of Archie] from a mate of ours, a mutual mate of ours.”
Jonny: “He just sent it to me, like not much context.”
Juan: “We were making music at the time and we tried to mess around with the recordings, and it just fit perfectly.”
Even more fortuitously, the release of the EP coincided with Archie’s release from incarceration, during which time he wrote the lyrics and made the melody for ‘Green N’ Grey’.
Archie: “It is so beautiful, because as Juan said, it came together so perfectly. They got this recording and it just fit perfectly, [they] didn’t have to change key or anything.”
Evident across the creative ethos of 700 Feel is their effortless and almost fated approach to making music. Things just seem to fall into place, nothing is forced – it is more about following what feels (or sounds) right.
Juan: “We were trying to find two genres that we really liked and then pairing them up with a genre that was like, shouldn’t be paired together or something we thought had never been done before. The 700 Feel sound though, it’s not something that we really try to do… It just kind of happens. It just happens. Like it’s weird.”
With such an open-minded and curious approach to their creative projects, predicting what territory the pair will explore next is difficult to pin down. This makes the journey all the more interesting and exciting for both the artists and us fans.
Listen to the full interview with 700 Feel on Up for It! above. Buy/stream Muscle Memories Vol.1 on Bandcamp below, and be sure to keep an eye out for Vol. 2, due to be released on the 3rd November 2023. Keep your ears peeled for darker and more long-form songs, breaching yet another frontier for 700 Feel and their creative evolution.